There's a good article at TheAtlantic.com on gun control by Jeffery Goldberg titled The Case for More Guns (And More Gun Control) which covers what looks like all the hot issues in the gun control debate.
He makes a solid point that gun control advocates are motivated more by ideology than safety as the research supports the conclusion that guns make people safer, not more dangerous. Further, gun control advocates contradict themselves, especially on the subject of concealed carry on campus. For example, he reports how Colorado state legislator Clair Levy says on the one hand, university campuses are the safest places in the country. Yet on the other hand, campus life must be so inherently dangerous that the introduction of even licensed guns could mean mayhem.
And he touches on a point I've made. It's too late for gun control. The only guns that would be controlled would be those owned by people who obey the law. Gun owners without regard for the law will keep theirs. The effect will be more guns in the hands of criminals and fewer guns in the hands of honest citizens who might have otherwise been able to use them for defense against those criminals.
That point was made by some interesting research conducted by James D. Wright decades ago which Goldberg touches on. Regarding that, see this 1986 summary of Professor Wright's paper based on a survey of 1,800 convicted adult felons. Link and conclusion:
Implications for Gun Policies
Findings from the survey suggest the following:
- Controls imposed at the point of retail sale would not be effective in preventing the acquisition of guns by serious adult felons because these felons rarely obtain their guns through customary retail outlets.
- Since theft of guns is a predominant means by which felons procure firearms, the 30 to 50 million handguns currently possessed by legitimate private owners represents a potentially rich source for criminal handgun acquisition. An effective criminal gun control policy must therefore, of necessity, confront the issue of firearms theft. At a minimum, there should be programs to educate the gun-owning public about the importance of adequately securing their guns.
- Among the most predatory felons, gun ownership and carrying is seen as essential because they fear what the prospects of an unarmed life on the streets would mean for their physical safety and security. For this group of most serious offenders, enhanced sanctioning policies would be unlikely to pose must threat; for them, the cost of being caught unarmed in a dangerous situation would be many times greater than the cost of a few years in prison.
- For less predatory felons, however, sentence enhancement policies do seem to have an important deterrent effect, since a sizable majority of the felons who do not use guns in crime cite "stiffer penalties" as a very important reason for their decision not to carry firearms.
- Finally, the survey findings suggest that, at least for the serious adult felons included in this sample, certain commonly proposed gun-banning measures could have strongly undesirable consequences, resulting in the substitution of more powerful and more lethal firearms. Gun-banning policies may be responded to differently by other types of offenders, however, and could represent a more effective deterrent to firearms use by juveniles, non-felony offenders, and other types of criminals.
Those felons are 26 years older now, but the logic they used then is likely valid today.
It's trite but true. Outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns.
Addendum: Readers of this blog know that negligent gun discharges have been addressed numerous times here in the past. Another topic of interest to me which hasn't been addressed yet in this blog is the subject of stolen handguns. Anything that isn't locked down in a vehicle can be easily stolen. So a handgun stuffed in the console or under the seat can suddenly have a new, less reputable owner. Maybe in the coming year I can get some data on this and report about it on these pages.